3 Ways Pokémon GO Can Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities | EdTech Magazine

Pokémon GO has only been available in Canada for about 10 days, but it’s become extremely popular, in a very short amount of time.  Players should pay attention to their surroundings, and they should be considerate of people who live and work near Poké Stops & Gyms, where you collect weapons and have battles.  Unlike other video games, players have to get out and move around their communities to play Pokémon GO.  It’s very interesting to see how much exercise players are getting, and how much interaction is happening, when players meet each other.  So many strangers have given me advice about how to play!  Think about some skills that you want to learn and how you can use Pokémon GO to help you learn those skills.  Prepositions are one area of vocabulary and grammar that are often difficult to learn.  Ask for advice and give it about where to locate Pokéstops, gyms, and monsters! Find new places around your neighbourhood, as well as when you go someplace new.


A Pokémon gym in Fort Assiniboine, AB, also the world’s largest wagon wheel & pick!

Educators from around the web offer ideas for incorporating Pokémon GO into the classroom.

Source: 3 Ways Pokémon GO Can Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities | EdTech Magazine

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen | Talk Video | TED.com

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen | Talk Video | TED.com.

TED talks are an excellent place to find short, clear speeches on many interesting subjects.  This 10-minute speech covers bad habits to avoid, good habits to use, a toolbox of communication skills, and public-speaking warmup.  The speaker is speaking UK English, and the vocabulary is at an academic level.

Introduce yourself!

Meeting new people is interesting!

Meeting new people is interesting!

Once you can ask people important questions like, “Where is the bathroom?”, one of the most important skills in a new language is introducing yourself.  In all of my classes, I ask students to introduce themselves (not “present” themselves) every time there’s a new student in class.  It’s obviously awkward for many students, even after plenty of practice.  Remember that when you feel awkward, the person you are talking to will often feel awkward and uncomfortable, as well.  Take time to practice a “script” that you can use, whenever you meet someone new.  The main information they will want is your name, your occupation, and your country of origin.  If you include a little bit more, like hobbies, family information, or personality, it will help the 2 of you have some ideas about what to talk about, next time you both meet.  Make eye contact with the person you are meeting, smile, and don’t speak too quickly.  Practice makes perfect!

Remember to listen when other people introduce themselves.  Find out something that you can ask them about later on.  If it’s your first time with a new group of people, it’s a good idea to write down their names, and 1-2 things about each person.  If you forget someone’s name, tell them you forgot, and ask them to tell you again.  People really like to hear their own name, so try to use it soon after you meet someone.  It will be easier to remember that way.

tell someone about yourself, and find out about them.

tell someone about yourself, and find out about them.

Let me introduce myself

• Hi, my name’s …………… OR Hello, I’m …………… (full name)
• You can call me OR Please call me ……………
(nickname, given name, English name)
• I’m from …………… (city, country)
• My first language is …………… and
I’ve studied English for …………… (length of time) at/in …………… (school/location)
• I’ve lived in Canada for…………… (length of time) OR
since …………… (date, year, month)
• I’m … years old. (This is NOT necessary information,
but it’s okay if you’re comfortable sharing)
• I’m a/an …………… (occupation)
• I’m working as …………… (occupation) at …………… (employer)
• I’m a …………… (faculty/ level) student at …………. (eg. University of Alberta)
• I study English because ……………
• In this class, I hope to/need to ……………
• I’m married/single/a mom/dad/engaged/single (This is NOT necessary information, but it’s okay if you’re comfortable sharing)
• There are … people in my family.
• They are …………… (locations, occupations, personality
• My father is a …………… and my mother is a ………………
• My hobby is …………………..
• In my free time, I also like ……………
• I don’t like …………………………
• My favourite sport is …………………..
• I enjoy eating/drinking ……………
• My favourite singer (or band/kind of music) is ……………..
• I like …………….. (movies).


teacher policeman doctor
nurse builder architect
civil servant engineer social worker
secretary businessman shop assistant
manager fire fighter shopkeeper
cleaner postman waiter/waitress

Hobbies – Free time activities

• reading, painting, drawing
• playing computer games
• surfing the Internet
• doing yoga
• going to the cinema
• playing with friends
• playing soccer/tennis/golf
• going to the park/beach/…
• listening to music
• shopping, singing, dancing
• travelling, camping, hiking


action movie
romantic comedy
horror movie
sci-fi movie
war movie
animated cartoons

• … I like it a lot.
• … I think it’s important.
• … there are many things to see and do.
• … I have to.
• … it’s relaxing/popular/nice/…
• … it’s a lot of fun
• … it’s interesting

Here is a video with some nice, short introductions.  They don’t use contractions (I’m), which almost all Canadians will do when meeting someone new.


Learn about speaking and listening

This article is written to teachers, to help them to encourage students to have good conversations.  I think that there are a lot of good tips for students, to help you to understand more about the art of North American conversation.  In my academic class, we recently talked about the large cultural differences in conversational styles.  In cultures like Japanese cultures, all speakers take turns, based on age and rank, and there isn’t the back and forth style that is common in North America.  In some cultures, it’s disrespectful to make eye contact with someone who is older or who has a higher rank, whereas here, it’s seen as a sign of boredom, disrespect, or dishonesty, when speakers and listeners don’t look at each other.

Time to communicate

Time to communicate



7 Phrases that Will Drastically Improve Your Cultural Fluency in English


7 Phrases that Will Drastically Improve Your Cultural Fluency in English.

This site addresses a common problem that people have when communicating in a new language.  How do you understand what someone is saying to you, and keep a conversation going.  They talk about the importance of body language, as well as some useful words and phrases to get speakers to help you to understand them better.

One skill that is very useful is to rephrase what you DID understand, and repeat that back to the speaker.  This is called Active Listening.  It’s helpful to the speaker to know what you did understand, and they can easily correct you if you do misunderstand what they said.  Nobody really wants to just keep repeating what they have said again and again, and a conversation will be very frustrating for the speaker and the listener if you just ask the speaker to repeat themselves.  Try some of the tactics in the video, next time you meet someone new!

Tip for YearOfEnglish.com Subscribers: Learn English Song Lyrics! | English Harmony

Tip for YearOfEnglish.com Subscribers: Learn English Song Lyrics! | English Harmony.

Robby, from English Harmony or YearofEnglish.com says the following:

If you’re anything like the average foreigner out there, I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that you normally don’t pay attention to English song lyrics; you just allow the music wash over your ears and touch you emotionally rather than with the actual meaning of words.

To tell you the truth, my friends, I don’t even pay conscious attention to words when I listen to songs performed by my fellow country-men (or women for that matter!), and sometimes it’s next to impossible to decipher those lyrics regardless of the language! :grin:

My new blogging friend, ElleninTokyo, also an ESL teacher recommended some other videos by Robby, because he’s a non-native English speaker (Latvian, living in Ireland).  He’s posting new videos every day with recommendations for improving your English fluency.  It’s great that he uses idiomatic English, including many common expressions in his videos.  He strongly recommends that you learn all new vocabulary in context, and I’m seeing more and more information about how valuable this is, as well as how helpful it is to sing new words in English.  Therefore, learning lyrics to English songs, finding out more about some of the words and phrases in these songs, and then singing the songs will be very helpful, in many different ways.  I suggest that you watch the video and look for more of Robby’s ideas on his blog and YouTube channel.  And while you’re at it, find a good song to learn and sing!

Irregular Verbs Made Easy: The 5 Best Ways to Learn Irregular Verbs Online

Many students have trouble learning and remembering irregular verbs, but it’s one of the most important lessons to learn. The most common verbs are often irregular verbs. Also, it’s far more common to use simple past verbs, instead of simple present. Take some time to visit these different sites, and try some new, fun ways to memorize some important words in English!

Irregular Verbs Made Easy: The 5 Best Ways to Learn Irregular Verbs Online.